This Friday night marks the start of high school football playoffs.
The stands are packed and at the same time a controversy about players bullying and harassing other players is swirling around some of the pros who play in the NFL.
If 6-foot-5 3-hundred pound men can be bullied, parents at the Scranton Prep – Abington Heights Football game wonder, what about the teens who play on teams in our area?
It`s pretty much a given that the game of football is an aggressive sport with athletes touting their brute strength and power.
But some here at Scranton Prep`s game against Abington Heights wonder if that macho-mentality has gone too far in professional football.
“The money they make and the age of them, that they don`t know better than to not bully?” said Michelle Vergnetti of West Scranton. “And it seems like the coach kind of knew something was going on too which I`m very surprised about.”
Miami Dolphins Offensive Tackle Jonathan Martin says he has been repeatedly bullied by fellow teammate, Richie Incognito.
Texts and voice messages sent allegedly from Incognito to Martin contain profanities, racial slurs and threats of physical harm to martin and his family.
“It`s crazy, there`s no place in sports for that kind of reaction,” said Ed Lynett of Scranton.
The league suspended Incognito but some say this should be dealt with in house.
“Let them handle it in the locker room, let the team take care of the team, say away from outside influences, it just becomes a story, let the team handle it internally,” said Jody Fitzsimmons of Wavely.
Critics of Martin have questioned how a 6 foot 5, 300 pound football player could feel intimidated but people here say it can happened to anyone.
As for the severity of Martin’s allegations, some parents said how would this story be perceived if it happened in a high school lock room rather than inside the storied profession of the NFL?
“I’d be livid, I livid and I would want my grandson to stick up for the person that got bullied or the same thing, if someone was bullying him I`d hope somebody would come forward,” said Vergnetti.
“I`d be furious, I`d go to the school administrators and talk to them, to make sure that it was taken care of,” said Lynett.